Divine Office Forum: Making Time

Making Time QUESTION from Ken Dilks on September 28, 2002 On retreat a priest told this story.
He said that during the French Revolution, when the intillectual attacks on the Church were great, a Diocesan Priest wrote the Holy Father asking to be dispensed from the requirement of praying the Divine Office daily. In his letter to the Pope, the priest explained that his time was completely filled with the defense of the Church as it was being attacked by the thinkers of the time.
The priest giving the talk during that retreat said that the Holy Father answered the request with a one line message to the French priest. That message was, The Church needs your prayers, it does not need your defense.
I often think of that story, but have no idea of who the priest was, the Pope, or whether the story is true/historically known. Do you know anything about that?
Also, are there Rubrics for offering incense during Evening Prayer? There does not seem to be a logical place for it.
I have also been at Evening Prayer where those in attendance hold lighted candles while praying, turning pages, singing, moving ribbons, and getting frustrated over the dripping wax. I understand and appreciate the use of candles during an Evening Prayer Service where there is no book...to deal with. Is there a logical/practical way of handling this during Evening Prayer?
ANSWER by John-Paul Ignatius, OLSM on September 30, 2002 Dear Mr. Dilks:
No, I have not heard that story, but I like it! :)
But, we must remember that we each have our own charisms given to us by God. For example, I believe the Jesuits have been dispensed from the Divine Office requirement so they may do their active ministry without the need to stop at particular moments of the day. They make other prayers in addition to their service to God.
Incensing may be done during Benediction. Evening Prayer then begins after Benediction.
There is also specific instructions to do Evening Prayer as part of the Mass. In this case the incense is used in the Mass.
There are no specific rubric for incense, but at the end of Evening Prayer there is a blessing. That is usually done with Holy Water, but a priest could use incense for the blessing.
Candles and all that are not part of the Divine Office. That is a personal initiative sort of thing. As long as the Office is being said correctly, I believe there can be leway in posture and gestures.
But it candles are causing a distraction due to dripping wax and the like, then I would advise against the practice. We need to be focused on the prayers of the Office, not a sentimental display of candles and such.
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